by: Maricon Williams
Choosing the right paper for a printing job is a very complicated undertaking. It should not be that way though. You have overwhelming options. All you have to do is to be specific. Paper influences all the aspects of a print project, together with overall perception, reproduction quality, durability and mailing cost. Choose defectively, and you can spoil an otherwise great project.
To be specific is to consider a lot of aspects. First the surface of the paper because it affects its look, feel and printability. It matters because people are influenced by the appearance of the paper, it’s that simple.
Second aspect is the paper color. Color is the most important characteristic since it controls the hues and shades of the ink. At present, white is the most popular color and is generally optimal for conventional uses. Off-white paper produces fewer glares. It is usually used in publications such as novels and manuals.
Brightness is another aspect that needs to be considered. It measures the percentage of light that it reflects. Most papers reflect 60-90% of incoming light. It is important because it affects readability. High level of brightness can cause eye strain. Conversely, low brightness can cause blurring effect.
The fourth aspect is opacity. It is the degree to which other printing is visible through the page. High level of opacity minimizes the visibility of printing on succeeding pages, as a result, it enhances readability. Opacity is influenced by the other factors such as bulk and weight of paper, paper color, ink color, coatings, chemicals and coverage.
Grain, on the other hand, describes the direction or alignment of its component fibers. It is either grain short or grain long. When fibers run parallel to the width it is grain short. Grain direction determination is critical to paper strength, flexibility, tack and versatility.
The basis of weight of paper is premeditated in pound of one ream or five hundred sheets. Paper is sold by pound and understanding paper weight is essential to a triumphant cost control programs.
Caliper means thickness. It is measured in thousandths of an inch and referred to as point size (.001 inch 1 point).
The eighth aspect is the bulk. It denotes thickness relative to its basis weight. Uncalendared paper will have a higher bulk than gloss coated paper. Keep in mind though, that paper may be bulkier or thicker than another grade but may still have the same basis weight.
The size of the paper depicts its physical dimensions. Ask your supplier for specific information concerning the range of paper sizes to ensure proficient usage.
The tenth aspect is the paper quantity. It refers to the number of sheets. A ream is equivalent to 500 sheets. Cartons of paper are typically weighing 150 pounds.
In purchasing paper, work side by side with the supplier. Paper suppliers can help you in picking the best paper in terms of possible weight, texture, tear strength and color for the printing surface. Always discuss your paper needs with your paper supplier and your printer at the earliest possible opportunity.